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Carpooling and Social Media

Updated September 29, 2013

Cars are part of the American identity. We love our cars — they’re the modern equivalent of the cowboy’s horse, providing the freedom to go anywhere at any time. We pour money into our automobiles, adding satellite radio, comfortable seats, and luxury carpets for Mustangs and other classic cars.

A well-appointed car is like a portable room. We develop sentimental attachments to vehicles (if you doubt that, take a moment to remember your first car. No matter how cheap and unreliable it was, chances are you remember it fondly). Some of us even name our cars (this blogger’s family van is known as the Peanut Butter Express).

We don’t, however, share well with others on the road. 76 percent of cars on the nation’s highways contain exactly one person: the driver. Only ten percent of commuters car-pool. The results are, unfortunately, increasingly congested highways, long commutes and large amounts of pollution.

Carpooling has always raised concerns with Americans: there’s the question of who pays for gas, destination conflicts among carpoolers and, of course, the very real worry of sharing a car with complete strangers. Online carpooling sites, such as Ridejoy.com, Carpooling.com and Rideshare.com are changing how people think about carpooling by making it easier and safer to find both drivers and passengers.

Carpool Site Features

Carpooling sites have different methods for matching passengers with drivers. Many consider personality compatibility as well as destination, so a driver who enjoys quiet doesn’t get matched with chatty passengers. Some require users to log in using their Facebook accounts, so carpoolers can get a sense of an individual’s personality. Many sites also allow users to write reviews and references for fellow carpoolers, allowing you to pick reliable carpoolers.

Security features vary. Some sites use digital identification verification systems, while some even provide background checks. The goal is to make carpooling as safe and convenient as possible.

Paying the Piper (Or the Driver)

Different sites also set different criteria for driver payment and may take a percent of the driver’s pay. In most cases, however, the driver will at least be reimbursed for the cost of carpooling gas, saving money that can be put towards new car accessories, automobile upkeep or Mustang parts. Oh, and you get to use the high-occupancy lanes, cutting down your commute time.

Carpooling Apps

Several of the more popular carpooling sites now offer mobile apps, allowing people to find carpooling partners on-the-fly. In addition to the daily commute, people increasingly use carpooling sites for short recreational jaunts and even long distance road trips. Passengers get rides that might otherwise be impossible, drivers get some relief from today’s high gas prices, and we all breathe less exhaust fumes. And yeah, whizzing down that high occupancy lane really cuts down on your traffic time.

This post brought to you by guest blogger Carly who enjoys blogging about anything related to cars, from carpooling to carpets for Mustangs.

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Calvin Escobar
About Calvin Escobar

The Car scene is so diverse Where I come from, most enthusiasts recognize the amazing engineering (particularly the engines). The bulk of the ridicule originates from the manner in which many of the vehicles are modded/maintained. Thus, the jokes and or hate tends to be aimed more at the owner rather than the machine. All of which makes seeing properly sorted old Toyota's and Hondas at car meets, auto shows, and track days all the more refreshing.

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